Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Eternal Family

"My Eternal Family" keeps haunting me. Part of me understands the reason why I pushed it back, but part of me wants to get the more challenging song under my belt. What we have are two verses with a chorus, sung at the end of each verse.
The song lends itself easily to visual aids and to signs. I plan to use sign language when teaching this song, because of the cadence of the music, the hand motions can immitate that rhythmic feel and help with learning and remembering the song.
I have been toying with the idea of teaching the chorus first to both junior and senior primaries. My reasoning here is that the kids always seem a bit weaker at the end of the song than the beginning. For example all my Sunbeams can sing the first line of I lived in Heaven, but by the end of the song only some of them are still singing. When I get the chorus in solid, i'll go back and teach the two verses, then it will seem like the song is shorter because they already know the chorus.
Believe it or not i'm already thinking i'll have the older boys sing the verses in the program and the whole primary sing just the chorus. I like the sound of the boys voices here and I think it would be quite powerful performed this way. I might have the older children hum while they sing. Of course all this is subject to change, I have months to think about this.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

March Schedule

Our primary has just been re-organized, not the presidency, the kids. The junior primary now consists of Sunbeams to CTR6 and the senior primary is CTR 7 and up. I switched around the songs for this month and we are doing one of our optional songs - Revence is Love #31. It's a little easier to teach than My Eternal Family and it will give me a little experience teaching to a group of non-readers. We have a lot of Sunbeams, maybe a third or more of the junior primary so they don't really sing during singing time, i'm relying heavily now on the teachers. I have heard comments that the Sunbeams are singing the songs at home, which is great, i'm on the right track I just need to be patient. We are singing How Firm a Foundation as the closing song every week this month to review.
This week i'm teaching Revence is Love, more on that later, plus my preliminary ideas for the "Builder" song My Eternal Family. We're also getting ready for Easter, toward the end of the month, so that we have plenty of time for Easter songs. Our primary loves to sing songs in parts, so we're doing Hosanna. On the off chance we get asked to sing in Sacrament meeting, I like to be prepared.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Opening Song: This is God’s House 30
Birthday: You’ve had a birthday 285
Welcome: We welcome you to Primary 256

This week we are doing the Primary Top Ten. For the last two weeks i've been getting the children to write down their favorite songs on a sheet i've been sending around to the classes. This is a great activity that I like to do each year. It helps me know which songs they really like so that we can sing them. There is one for Jr. and one for Sr. primary.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Singing the songs about Love

Sunday February 15
Opening Song: This is God’s House 30
Birthday: You’ve had a birthday 285
Welcome: We welcome you to Primary 256

Review: How Firm a Foundation #173
Activity Song: My Hands 273

Singing the songs about Love (because it's Valentines day)
Families can be together Forever 188
Love is spoken here 190
Love one another 136
I love to see the Temple 95

I had a couple of ideas about how to do this. I like the idea of making a big red valentine and cutting it out into the shape of puzzle pieces. The songs on the back, then the kids will make the heart shape as we sing the songs. We can use the heart as a valentine for the Bishop or Pianist or Primary President. I also thought about getting red and white balloons, and putting the songs inside and letting the kids pop them. It's still early in the week, so I am still thinking of ideas for a valentine.

Closing Song: I lived in Heaven 4

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Teaching How Firm a Foundation

Here are the posters for verses 1 and 3. They are stuck on with velcro so I can take the words on and off easily. I think i'll get an easel from the library so that I can have them right next to me, instead of back on the chalkboard. Easier to see, and closer to the kids that way. For the younger kids I did my best to use as many illustrations and such as I could. I want them to be able to follow along.

This week (Feb 8th) i'm beginning How Firm a Foundation. After discussing this with the Primary President and going back and forth about different verses, we've settled on 1, 3, and 7. This is really such a fascinating hymn, and just to date myself, I still hear "You, Who unto Jesus" in the first verse.

I made up 3 posters with the words on cardstock, some with illustrations. I got the idea from the Arizona blog I read, to make the posters, it was a great idea, but I used adhesive velcro and put that on the backs of every word, that way I can pull some words off to see how well they remember. This took the better part of this morning, or really about 4 hours. It was a lot of work, good thing I may need this for the next few months and I have a feeling the other ward will see this in the closet and "borrow" it on Sundays.

My next dilemma was thinking about different ways to sing the same song, or verse, over and over and over without burning the kids out. My mother got an idea from her Primary music leader to send someone out of the room, have all the kids decide on a particular word and then hum that word instead of sing it. The person who has been outside has to decide which word was missing. I thought this was a great idea, it makes it into a game. So how many other ways are there to make repetition fun? I've gotta think about this.
  1. Play skip the word game.
  2. Hide the bear, sing loud and softly while someone looks for it.
  3. Scramble the words and then unscrable them to sing.
  4. Divide the room in half and have them take turns singing during the verse (using the magic wand to tell them when to sing - of course)
  5. Use all those loud/soft, slow/fast, stop/go signs - or if i'm feeling really musical pull out the forte/piano signs.
  6. Let the kids conduct.

Hmmmmm. There must be more, I really do have to think about this.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"Choose and Review" turns into "Do Something New"

The schedule for today was supposed to be as follows:

Opening Song: This is God's House

Welcome Song: We welcome you to Primary

Birthday Song: You've had a birthday

Choose and Review (I put 8 songs in the bag)

I am like a star, I lived in Heaven, Tell me the Stories of Jesus, The Chapel Doors, Popcorn Popping, How Firm a Foundation, and a "you choose".

Closing Song: I know my Father Lives

So Junior Primary went pretty well. They pulled "How Firm a Foundation" out of the bag first. I'm not teaching it until next week, but I talked for a minute about the hymn and then we hummed it together. We sang the rest of the songs and the "you choose" turned out to be Book of Mormon Stories.

In Senior Primary we had a birthday, I always plan for these things, but you don't always get to sing a birthday song. Right at the end of the song the last line goes: Happy Birthday (rest) to you. I have always clapped during that rest and this primary doesn't. So we spent a few minutes adding a clap to that rest, and the children really got a kick out of it. Then we talked about welcome songs that we know. The kids said they knew four: Hello!, Our Primary Colors, We welcome you to Primary, and Our Door is Always Open. We have never sung the last one in the six months i've been doing it. So we gave it a try, they only remembered the first line. But they were having a good time, that was fun. So we finally got to the bag and only had time for four or five songs. They are outstanding with I lived in Heaven, so we gave How Firm a Foundation a try with them reading out of their books. It was okay, and at least next week they will be somewhat familiar with it when we hit it hard. I used the quieter/louder signs this week as well, I stand in front of the piano so if i'm careful the pianist can't see me, I did the signs just to see what she would do. She laughed, but figured it out really quick. I LOVE MY PIANIST!!!!!! (More on that later).

By the way, all the children asked for the magic wand again. I sigh with happiness. I made it out of a spoon (but I really wanted a dowel), those fabulous lights from IKEA that turn on with a battery, duct tape and buttons glued on. Easy.